Working Paper

Putting Money to Mouths: Rewarding and Punishing Human Rights Behaviors

Date Published

Mar 1, 2016


Darren Hawkins, Jay Goodliffe



Hawkins, Darren and Jay Goodliffe. 2016. Putting Money to Mouths: Rewarding and Punishing Human Rights Behaviors. AidData Working Paper #21. Williamsburg, VA: AidData at William & Mary.


Do foreign aid donors reward recipients for good human rights and democracy records? In contrast to previous studies, we argue that donor states are interested in reproduction, influencing recipient states to adopt domestic practices similar to their own. This theory of donor behavior produces different hypotheses than those previously tested. In particular, we expect that aid donors will reward changes in a recipient’s level of democracy or respect for human rights that bring the recipient closer to the donor. Once recipients become more similar to donors, however, donor states allocate their resources away from those similar states. This is because donors prefer to utilize scarce resources to reward recipients who are actively changing in ways that bring them closer to donors. We find that recipients who change to become more like donors receive significant increases in aid while recipients who are already similar to donors receive large decreases in aid.

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Darren Hawkins

Darren Hawkins

Professor of Political Science at Brigham Young University

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